The Super Falcons of Nigeria played a 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland at the ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand on Monday.
The result against Ireland ensured the Super Falcons advanced to the Women’s World Cup round of 16 stage.
Following the outcome of Monday’s game, Nigeria finished runners-up in Group B with five points, after winning one game and drawing two.
The Super Falcons had drawn 0-0 against Olympic champions Canada in their first game of the tournament and also defeated Australia 3-2 in their second encounter in the group stage.
However, Randy Waldrum’s side finished second position with five points in Group B behind Australia, who claimed top spot with six points thanks to their 4-0 thrashing of Canada on Monday.
The Super Falcons have reached the knockout stages at the Women’s World Cup for the third time in their history.
They will stay in Brisbane for their next match at the tournament and will face the winner of Group D in the last-16.
Group D comprises England, Denmark, China and Haiti.
England currently top Group D with six points after two games. They will face China on Tuesday and if they win or draw, they will top the Group.
Denmark, on the other hand, are in second position in Group D with three points after two games and they will face Haiti on Tuesday.
If all goes as expected, that would mean Nigeria, who are yet to lose a game in the tournament, will face England in the Round of 16 next Monday.
Can the Super Falcons go past the Round of 16 in this year’s Women World Cup when they face England?
Weighing the Super Falcons’ chances of progressing from the last-16 stage, Stanley Smart, an Abuja-based sports journalist, told DAILY POST: “Well, when it comes to football nothing is impossible. So far the girls have shown decent performances in the tournament.
“I must give kudos to the head coach [Waldrum] and his coaching staff, despite reports and speculations of lack of proper preparation for the World Cup, payment of salaries and bonuses by the NFF, they have shown courage by advancing to the next round.
“This is the knockout stage, any little mistake can get you out of the competition. Yes the Falcons were unbeaten in the Group stage. England won their first two games. The match between Nigeria and England in the round of 16 will be a tough game. But England will have an edge because the Falcons need to work on their finishing.
“If you watch their last game against Ireland they should have won that game by at least 2-0 or 2-1. Their attackers – Oshoala, Kanu and Ajibade and co need to work on their finishing because in the knockout stage every half chance or little chance counts.”
“The goalkeeper, Chiamaka is doing well, as well as the back four. The midfielders need to improve, I expect the girl that got a red card against Canada to be back in the lineup against England.
“My advice to Waldrum’s side is that they should approach the game against England without fear, have more of the ball, improve on their marking when they do not have the ball and try to convert their chances in front of goal. If they can do these things, I believe they might progress from the Round of 16,” he added.